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Does Lawn Care Affect A Dog's Health

by Alex Russel, All About Lawns Columnist

Different types of fertilizers have different levels of toxicity. When applying fertilizer to your lawn or garden, it's crucial that you read the label carefully and determine if the chemicals are a threat to your pet's health. If in doubt, assume that the fertilizer is dangerous.

There are frequent stories of family pets becoming quite ill when a neighbor applies fertilizer to a lawn or garden. In Buffalo recently, a TV station followed up on a report that a German shepherd was taken ill when a lawn care company treated the lawn next door.
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Lawn Fertilizer and Pets

According to WGRZ-TV, two dogs had fallen ill and one had died after coming into contact with chemicals used by Lush Lawn, a local lawn care company.

Companies like Lush Lawn usually put flags on the property after it's been treated, advising people not to let pets or children on the lawn for a certain time period. But dog owners complain that often they don't notice the flags until the pet has already come in contact with the lawn.

Lawn Fertilizers Typically Not Dangerous

Not all fertilizers are dangerous. Fertilizers that don't contain herbicides or pesticides won't harm pets. But regardless, as a rule, it's always a good idea to water a lawn thoroughly after applying fertilizer to help wash granules into the soil and off the grass blades.

The situation is different with garden weed killers, which work by sticking to the leaves large and small. To work, they can't be washed off for at least 48 hours after application and during this time, pets and children should be kept away

Beware of Pesticides

Pesticides are usually the most toxic and accordingly, label directions on pesticide products generally say to keep anyone, other than the gardener, out of the treated area until the spray has dried or the dust has settled.

Overall, however, fertilizer use alone doesn't seem to have any conclusive affect on a pet's health. If any dog has fallen ill in a permanent way because of fertilizer, that would be an extremely rare occurrence, experts say.


About the Author
Alex Russel is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Since graduating from Syracuse University he has worked at many different media companies in fields as diverse as film, TV, advertising, and journalism. He holds a dual bachelor's degree in English and History.

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